Mutual interest remains between veteran cornerback Morris Claiborne and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, however terms have yet to be agreed upon.
Last week, mutual interest between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and veteran cornerback Morris Claiborne was reported, and now this week, a contract has been offered. According to The Draft Network’s JC Cornell, the Buccaneers have offered Claiborne a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum to move to Tampa Bay.
However, Claiborne wants more money than the Buccaneers are currently offering and is holding out for the potential of a bigger deal from another team or from Tampa Bay themselves. With only $2.8 million in cap space and with the veteran minimum coming in at less than $1 million, the Buccaneers do have a little wiggle room to make him a better offer, but also may be playing hardball and calling Claiborne’s bluff.
The former top-10 pick back in 2012 has spent seven years in the NFL with both the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets. While Claiborne looked like a bust early in his career, he has turned his path around and has changed that label from bust to late bloomer.
Starting 15 games in each of the last two seasons for the Jets, Claiborne has recorded three total interceptions and defended 22 additional passes, almost matching his production in five seasons with the Cowboys. In 2018, Claiborne ranked as an average player according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required) with a score of 62.7.
Considering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ below average secondary, adding a veteran like Claiborne would give the young and struggling group a boost heading into 2019. While head coach Bruce Arians remains very high on former first round pick Vernon Hargreaves, stating that he will play outside the numbers, he had his best season in the league last year playing from the nickel spot.
Adding Claiborne would give the Buccaneers depth and flexibility to tinker with their secondary, deciding the best places for Hargreaves and last year’s second round pick Carlton Davis. Only time will tell if Claiborne and Tampa Bay can come to an agreement on a sufficient number and a deal will be struck between the two sides.